Before Louis-Jean Desprez arrived
in Stockholm in 1784 to work as a scenographer and architect, he spent a number
of years in Rome. It was there that he was asked by the Abbé de Saint-Non
to collaborate on one of the finest books of the 18th century: the Voyage pittoresque
ou description des royaumes de Naples et de Sicile (Paris 1781-1786). The
treatise on the Temple of Concord in present day Girgenti was illustrated with
two engravings designed by Desprez, one of which corresponds to the drawing shown
The drawing is probably a coloured repetition of the engraving by Desprez, copied in the same direction and including even the staffage. This is even more obvious when it is compared with the counterpart of the drawing, which was acquired last year and shows the front of the temple (inv. no. 2001-T.31) with the staffage considerately deviating from that found in the illustration published in the Voyage pittoresque.
A watercolour by Aert Schouman (Dordrecht 1710-1792 The Hague) Seleucus hands Stratonice over to the ill Antiochus (after Gerard de Lairesse), from 1773, 259 x 339 mm (inv. no. 2002-T.33)
Since the acquisition by Frits Lugt in 1923 of a group of about hundred watercolours by Aert Schouman, the collection has been particularly well provided with works by this artist. All these drawings depict birds. However, other genres in which the artist was notably productive were not represented until the purchase of this watercolour after a work by Gerard de Lairesse. The newly acquired watercolour must have been executed after a painting now in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
The drawing was once owned by the Dutch collector Cornelis Ploos van Amstel, who was a good friend of Schouman and who possessed 42 of his copies after the old masters. There can be no doubt that these copies not only served to record a specific painting but were also admired as works of art in their own right.
An etching with drypoint by Francis Seymour Haden (London 1818-1910 Woodcote Manor) 'On the Test', from 1859 (Schneiderman 24 vi/viii), signed in pencil, 150 x 223 mm (inv. no. 2002-P.25)
Although originally a surgeon, Francis Seymour Haden played an important role in the British Etching Revival. This etching shows a view of the River Test in Hampshire. Several states exist, all very different to each other. On the first (proof) states for instance, the sheep on the right were absent. This is the sixth state, on which Seymour Haden further elaborated the trees on the far side of the river with a drypoint, making them much darker and more impressive than in the first states.
Haden also collected and studied etchings by Rembrandt, which is probably why Frits Lugt started collecting his etchings. Since the death of Lugt in 1970 an increasing number of works by other members of the British Etching Revival have equally been acquired.
An engraving by Johann Martin Preißler (Neurenberg 1715-1794 Copenhagen) The equestrian statue of Frederic v by Jacques Saly, from 1768-1769, ca. 870 x 440 mm (inv. no. 2002-P.1)
Over the years the Fondation
Custodia has acquired a selection of drawings from the Danish Guldalder
that may now be the most important ensemble outside Denmark and which, on occasion,
is supplemented by prints. One special example is provided by this large engraving
of the equestrian statue of Frederic V, King of Denmark and Norway (reigned 1756-1766),
which adorns Amalienborg Square in Copenhagen since 1768. The print was made by
Johann Martin Preißler, an engraver originally from Germany; the statue
is by the French sculptor Jacques Saly (1717-1776).
The print was acquired in a Louis XVI frame which might be the original one. Other impressions of the print in comparable frames are known, and these may have been intended as special gifts. We know, for instance, that in early 1770 Saly sent une estampe encadrée, de la statue équestre du feu Roy de Dannemarck, quil a exécutée en bronze to the Paris Academy.